A 9-year-old boy was killed after crawling under a school bus, officials said.
The boy, Elyas Marshall Rodriguez, had just gotten off the bus Tuesday afternoon near his home in Orlando, Florida when the incident occurred. Elyas “ran back” to the bus and “crawled underneath” it, the Florida Highway Patrol told WESH 2 News.
Elyas was then hit by the bus while he was underneath it. According to NBC, the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death an accident caused by cranial-cerebral trauma.
It is not clear why Elyas crawled under the bus. He was the last stop of the day for the bus, and no other students were present.
His death is now under investigation. The bus driver, who has not been publicly identified, reportedly remained at the scene and has been cooperating with authorities.
Elyas was a cancer survivor, family members said. His cousin, Trenae Gayle, told WESH 2 News he was diagnosed with leukemia at age 2 and had been in remission. He got his chemotherapy port taken out just last year.
“He went through the Make-A-Wish Foundation because of how severe it was,” Gayle said. “So he had already been through a lot in his life.”
A huge football and basketball fan, Elyas had dreamed of being a professional athlete when he grew up.
“He was a very bubbly person. He was very compassionate,” Gayle said. “He loved being around people.”
A GoFundMe campaign for the family has raised over $20,000 as of Thursday.
The superintendent of Elyas’s school district, Dr. Maria F. Vazquez, said in a statement they are “deeply saddened” by his death.
“My heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to the student’s family and school community,” Vazquez said. “To lose a child so suddenly and tragically is extremely difficult especially for family and friends.”
Counselors will be available for students and staff, and the school district is “fully cooperating” with the investigation, she added.
“We ask that you keep the entire Lawton Chiles Elementary School community in your prayers as they grieve the loss of one of their own,” she said.”